Table of Contents
Only a handful of people in your life know your story. And, even a smaller number of people than that, know the details that have truly defined you.
For some of you, the most tenuous and tumultuous details of your story are sacredly held by you and God, because they are too painful to share, or so you think.
I call these details of your story, your table of contents.
For every success you have had, many failures have come to pass.
Each experience that you have that changes you, is a chapter in your book; a title in your table of contents.
You know everything about you and move through your world with a shaped perception and attitude that has been outlined and defined by who you have become in this moment.
And, as you well know, who you are can be re-defined by you in an instant.
But do you ever think about what someone else's story is?
Most people really don't take the time to find out.
I am reminded of this every time I look at an elderly person. I see the wrinkled and worn skin, the age spots, the grey hair, and the slowness of their gate and I say to myself, "I wonder what their life was like before they grew into this part of their body?"
Do you imagine how "rich" their life was before they looked elderly?
Perhaps they were an avid sports player; a parent, a husband or wife, or a world traveler.
Perhaps they were an expert in their professional field or were a fighter pilot in a world war.
Maybe, they loved to paint, to read, to teach. Maybe they were on broadway.
Maybe they struggled with the same things at your age, that you are struggling with, right now.
You just don't know.
Until you ask.
Most people's lives are fascinating to hear about.
The adage of "you can't judge a book by its cover" is familiar to most of you.
My, how true it is.
You think that you have someone "pegged" because you have met them once or in their 7 seconds to make an impression, they have solidified who they are.
But, that is just a sliver of them.
Only part of the whole.
Everyone has a story. A story that matters.
Most of us show others only what we want them to see; our "permittables", so to speak.
These are the details that are ok for the majority to notice.
We have roles to fulfill, jobs to do, and people to be.
We are careful to define our public image.
Whether you prioritize being well put together daily or not; you tell a story.
If you are a high achiever; you tell a story.
If your body is overweight or under weight; you tell a story.
If you have a tattoo, you tell a story.
If you tell everyone every detail about yourself on public platforms, you tell a story.
Each one of us could sit down and write our table of contents.
And, perhaps, you should. Most likely you would unearth events in your life that you put away. Or, you may finally give recognition to your brighter life moments.
You might even share this list with a family member or friend who could add to it.
How fantastic would that be?
But, the easy part is focusing on yourself and remembering your story.
A greater challenge for you might be to take the time to find out about someone else's?
When you let someone share their life with you, even if it is 10 minutes on the train, or while you are standing in line at the coffee shop or on a park bench, sharing is liberating.
And, listening is a gift.
There are two things that everyone needs to know when they speak with you: * Did you hear me? * Did what I say matter to you?
Everyone has a story; a story that matters.
Be curious about others.
Their table of contents could gift YOU with appreciating yours.
In love and light, Janis www.cohenfamilycounseling.com